You’ve likely heard the sage advice that the only way to defeat bullies is to stand up to them.
That’s not always easy. Especially if the bully is big…and armed.
In that case you may wish to bring along some friends.
US rocking the trade boat
As RAW reports, the US guided missile destroyer, ‘William P Lawrence’, conducted naval exercises alongside Japanese aircraft carrier ‘Izumo’ in the Chinese-claimed waterway. According to the US Navy, two Indian naval ships — destroyer, INS Kolkata and tanker, INS Shakti — and a Philippine patrol vessel also took part in the drills.
Granted, such exercises aren’t a novelty in the South China Sea. But the display of four nations combining efforts to challenge Beijing is certainly a new and interesting occurrence. Particularly when it has been just days since Trump threatened to increase tariffs on Chinese goods to 25%.
Captain of ‘William P Lawrence’, Commander Andrew J Klug, said in a statement:
‘Professional engagements with our allies, partners and friends in the region are opportunities to build upon our existing, strong relationships.’
While some may call it ill-timing, it seems more likely the US are simply trying to remind China how beneficial it will be to work towards a truce. Perhaps this naval display was necessary in order for this week’s trade talks to end in an official agreement.
Though this depends on China taking it the right way; which, based on past incidences, they won’t.
China want hands off the South Sea
These ally drills come after two other US warships sailed close to islands that are part of the region claimed by China, which caused Beijing to protest the actions as they infringed China’s sovereignty.
And back in April, the William P Lawrence and another destroyer sailed through the Taiwan Strait. Beijing considers Taiwan a rogue province from the Chinese mainland.
China is adamant to retain their claim on the strategic South China Sea, with other neighbouring regions struggling to be part of the maritime region. As it stands, the US, Japan and India don’t have any territorial claim there.
But the US Navy admit to conducting such freedom of navigation operations as this last united display, without political consideration.
It’s simply an exercise of power and alliance.
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